CIA director defends agency over Torture Report

World Today

CIA Director John Brennan CIA Director John Brennan

CIA Director John Brennan defended his agency from accusations in a Senate report that it used inhumane interrogation techniques against terrorist suspects with no security benefits to the U.S.

CIA director defends agency over Torture Report

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is used to working in the shadows, but its Director John Brennan was front and center on Thursday, publicly defending the agency. This came following the publication of a report that accused the CIA of torture, lying to U.S. lawmakers and the White House, and hiding the scope of its interrogation techniques at the height of the so- 'called war on terror.' CCTV America's Nathan King reported the story from Washington, D.C.

Brennan opened a rare news conference Thursday by recounting the horrors of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, his agency’s determination to prevent another such assault, and the fact that CIA officers were the first to fight and early to die in the Afghanistan war.

He conceded unauthorized and in some cases abhorrent methods were used against captives.

But Brennan asserted the CIA “did a lot of things right” in a time when there were “no easy answers.”

Security expert Larry Korb comments on the significance of CIA Director John Brennan’s news conference. Korb is also a former Assistant Secretary of Defense.

Security expert Larry Korb on CIA torture report

Security expert Larry Korb comments on the significance of CIA Director John Brennan’s news conference. Korb is also a former Assistant Secretary of Defense.

Senate Democrats delivered a damning indictment of CIA interrogation practices after the 9/11 attacks, accusing the agency of inflicting pain and suffering on prisoners with tactics that went well beyond legal limits. The 6,000-plus-page report compiled by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee is the first public accounting of the CIA’s use of what critics call torture on al-Qaida detainees held at “black” sites in Europe and Asia.

“The finding’s inclusions will make clear how this program was morally, legally and administratively misguided and that this nation should never again engage in these tactics,” Diane Feinstein, U.S. Senator said. The report details the quote “brutal treatment” of detainees who were kept naked and in darkness, sleep-deprived and subjected to water boarding which simulates drowning. One even died of hypothermia.

Tactics included confinement to small boxes, weeks of sleep deprivation, simulated drowning, slapping and slamming, and threats to kill, harm or sexually abuse families of the captives. The report produced revulsion among many, challenges to its veracity among some lawmakers and a sharp debate about whether it should have been released at all.

CIA Director Brennan on effectiveness of advanced interrogation techniques

At a press conference on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, CIA Director Brennan answered a question on the effectiveness of advanced interrogation techniques.

The CIA and several of its past leaders have stepped up a campaign to discredit the five-year Senate investigation into the CIA’s harrowing interrogation practices after 9/11, concerned that the historical record may define them as torturers instead of patriots and expose them to legal action around the world.

Current and former CIA officials pushed back Wednesday, determined to paint the Senate report as a political stunt by Senate Democrats tarnishing a program that saved American lives. It is a “one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation — essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America,” former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Hayden was singled out by Senate investigators for what they said was a string of misleading or outright false statements he gave in 2007 about the importance of the CIA’s brutal treatment of detainees in thwarting terrorist attacks. He described the focus on him as “ironic on so many levels” as any wrongdoing predated his arrival at the CIA.

“They were far too interested in yelling at me,” Hayden said in an email to The Associated Press.

See the full report here.

Article compiled with reporting by CCTV America, ABC, The Associated Press, and other wire reports.


Beyond the torture report: A look at the history of the CIA

How did the CIA get to this point? Specifically, when did a spy agency make the transformation from culling information to being accused of torturing and killing? CCTV America’s Sean Callebs reported this story on the agency’s history.

Beyond the torture report: A look at the history of the CIA

How did the CIA get to this point? Specifically, when did a spy agency make the transformation from culling information to being accused of torturing and killing? CCTV America's Sean Callebs reported this story on the agency's history.


Former CIA Officer Gary Berntsen talks reactions to the Agency’s report

CCTV America interviewed Gary Berntsen for an inside perspective on the report. Berntsen is a former CIA Senior Operations Officer.

Former CIA Officer Gary Berntsen talks reactions to the Agency\'s report

CCTV America interviewed Gary Berntsen for an inside perspective on the report. Berntsen is a former CIA Senior Operations Officer.


Ryan Casey talks ‘torture training’

CCTV America interviewed Ryan Casey for For more on the CIA Torture report. Casey is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve and has been trained how to endure torture.

Ryan Casey talks 'torture training'

CCTV America interviewed Ryan Casey for For more on the CIA Torture report. Casey is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve and has been trained how to endure torture.